Are the stats missing something the Tigers' skipper sees?
You might not think it’s particularly important for a team to have a dominant closer, or even to have a defined one. But Tigers manager Jim Leyland definitely does. Two months ago, he toldThe Detroit News, “I totally disagree with people who don’t think you need a closer to win. Most teams that win have a truly dominant closer.”
Madison Bumgarner reprises his memorable 2010 World Series start, killing Detroit softly to take a 2-0 series lead.
In Game One, we got a blowout, which is another way of saying we got one half of a pitcher’s duel. In Game Two, we got the whole duel. Both starters got through their first six innings unscathed. Both starters' lines showed fewer baserunners allowed than innings pitched. Both starters watched Andy Pettitte when they were younger and decided to steal that thing he does with his glove before each pitch.
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Jim Leyland's comments before and after ALCS Game Two reveal why we don't see closers by committee or relief aces more often.
During his pre-game press conference on Sunday, Jim Leyland announced that Jose Valverde—while remaining his closer—would not be closing ALCS Game Two, should the opportunity arise. Instead, Leyland said, he’d go with a “closer by committee” approach while he and pitching coach Jeff Jones worked with Valverde to straighten out his mechanical (and possibly psychological) kinks. That led to this exchange between Leyland and a reporter:
Ben and Sam catch up on the Yankees-Tigers ALCS and Ben's beat-writing adventures, then talk about why players and stats disagree about the difficulty of pitching on short rest, and Jim Leyland's comments about closers.
Ben and Sam catch up on the Yankees-Tigers ALCS and Ben's beat-writing adventures, then talk about why players and stats disagree about the difficulty of pitching on short rest and Jim Leyland's comments about closers.
Episode 62: "Yankees-Tigers ALCS Update/How Hard is Pitching on Short Rest?/October Bullpen Strategy"
John casts his ballot for this year's All-Stars, and a conversation with Jim Leyland.
The rosters for this year's All-Star Game will be announced Sunday, once all the fan and player ballots have been tabulated and the managers of both teams have made their selections. Who can wait until Sunday, though? Why not let the inevitable debates start a few days early?
There are a lot of differences between the two parks in Chicago, especially for those trying to cover games.
CHICAGO -- In order to pick up a few extra bucks, I cover games for outlets like MLB.com and the Associated Press, in addition to representing Baseball Prospectus at the ballpark. Sunday was one of those days, and when I'm doubled up, I'll have to post my ITP entry before postgame access begins. If you want to read my words on the actual game, just pull up the write-up from ESPN or a billion other places. That's me, even if stringers don't get bylines.
White Sox unveil their new manager for his first home opener, Jim Leyland isn't saying much but Kenny Williams is, and something is askew around home plate.
CHICAGO -- Friday marked Robin Ventura's first home game in uniform as a member of the White Sox since Sept. 20, 1998. He was asked if he remembered his last game at then-Comiskey Park. He didn't. But of course, we can look it up. He went 1 for 3 with a walk against the Red Sox, batting behind Frank Thomas and Albert Belle.
The Tigers are testing the old adage that you can never go back again by shifting Miguel Cabrera back to third base, but is there any precedent to suggest that the move might work?
All players eventually succumb to the passage of time. Outwardly, though, some age less obviously than others. Their statistics might lose some of their luster, their managers might rest them more often, and they might be more susceptible to a calf pull here or a hamstring strain there. But they look no less trim and move no less smoothly than they did in more durable days. Watch them from the stands, and you might almost convince yourself that they’re still in their prime and not deep in decline.
Look at early-model and late-model Mariano Rivera. It’s tough to tell them apart. Here’s Rivera giving up a crucial home run to Sandy Alomar Jr. in Game 4 of the 1997 ALDS. (Orel Hershiser, by the way: also aging gracefully.)
Detroit's manager has toured the country as a major-league manager, but is his work worthy of enshrinement?
When Lou Piniella stepped down as manager of the Cubs last summer, he was greeted with a spate of articles from smartpeople suggesting that he was bound for the Hall of Fame, not to mention tributes to his famous temper. Jim Leyland may lack Piniella’s signature flair for the dramatic base toss or hat-kick, but he can light up a post-game press conference as Piniella did, and the occasional clip of him getting his money’s worth from the umpires have been known to circulate. More to the point, with the spotlight shining on him thanks to the Tigers' post-season run, the 66-year-old skipper's own candidacy looks even stronger than Piniella’s, not to mention many of his peers.
Now that the regular season has wrapped up, here's a look at who BP staffers think should win the major awards.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff choices for the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results.
For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that has been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.). Next to each of these selections we've listed the total number of ballots, followed by the total number of points, and then the number of first-place votes in parentheses, if any were received.
Apparently not destiny, meaning we get another post-season with quality time in their dome home.
Sometimes, being both a fan and an analyst creates a conflict. For me, that has usually centered around my desire to be a credible writer and my lifelong love affair with the New York Yankees. This played out on these pages all through last year, the final season of the old Yankee Stadium, in moments such as the All-Star Game, where I wanted badly to cheer Mariano Rivera but couldn't because I was in the role of professional in that moment.